BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The governing council in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has again rejected a proposed $5 million settlement in a lawsuit over the death of Alton Sterling, a Black man fatally shot by a white police officer in 2016.
Baton Rouge news outlets say the 12-member East Baton Rouge Metro Council fell one vote short of the seven needed for approval Wednesday.
The rejection makes a March 2021 trial more likely in the 2017 wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of Sterling’s five children against the city, its police department and former police chief and the two officers involved. It’s the third time the council has failed to pass a possible settlement.
Former Baton Rouge police officer Blane Salamoni shot Sterling six times outside a convenience store on July 5, 2016. Sterling, 37, had been selling homemade CDs. Officer Howie Lake II, who is also white, helped wrestle Sterling to the ground, but Lake didn’t fire his gun.
Two cellphone videos of the shooting quickly spread on social media after the shooting, leading to protests that year in which nearly 200 people were arrested.
The 2017 suit alleges the shooting fit a pattern of racist behavior and excessive force by Baton Rouge Police. It also claims poor training and inadequate police procedures led to Sterling’s death.
Internal investigators for the Baton Rouge Police Department concluded Salamoni had used excessive force, The Advocate reported.
Salamoni was fired in March 2018, but an August 2019 settlement allowed him to withdraw his termination and resign retroactively instead. Authorities did not file criminal charges after an investigation.